Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gingerbread Cottage begins

Here's what I've done so far on Gingerbread Cottage. I'm missing one of the Crescent Colours so the area around the door isn't done yet. I'm just starting the roof and hope I don't get mixed up with several shades of light brown. I managed to do the small color changes with the flowers - it may not seem like that much but I've never done it before. Every first is a notch in my stitching belt.

I went to Barnes & Noble today and looked at British cross stitch magazines (I was lucky and they weren't in those annoying plastic bags that you can't open). I love to read the letters column and see the projects stitchers send in. Many of the patterns don't appeal to me or are too complicated for a beginner, so I rarely buy them, but every now and then something catches my eye and I ante up the cost just for one chart. In general I don't see many blog pictures of work that comes from these magazines, and I'm curious if any of you read them and what you think of them.

Please make sure to see my post below about the new blogger in our midst, Kim of Stitchful Thinking. Hop on over and give her a warm welcome.

Please welcome a new stitcher and blogger!

Hello Everyone!

I'd like to introduce you to my new friend Kim, who has just started a blog called Stitchful Thinking (great name!) Kim only started stitching in December and already has made more than a few lovely pieces. Kim wrote to me after finding my beginning stitcher blog, and now she's decided to join me in chronicling the journeys of a new stitcher. I am so excited to have company in cyberspace! She has said some very nice things about me helping her on her blog, but I think of anything I have been able to assist her with as my own version of Pay It Forward. All of you have been so wonderful in answering my questions and giving me encouragement, and it's nice to pass what I've learned on to someone else. Please join me in welcoming Kim to the world of stitching bloggers. I love her first entries and her blog is well worth a read from the beginning. Make sure to encourage her about taking the linen plunge! ;--)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thank you all so much!

I just love this stitching community. You are all so nice to give me tips about how to change colors. After seeing all the comments I have started Gingerbread Cottage and so far it is going swimmingly, even though my LNS didn't have the CC Blushing Beauty floss I need for it. I'm working on a color change part right now and am not finding it as hard as I thought, as you all reassured me it wouldn't. I will post a progress picture soon.

Kim has tagged me so I am thinking up some weird or random facts about myself. That's not too hard to do!

The Rules:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

The Facts:

1. While Kim said her real name is not Kimberly, when I was a child I desperately wanted Kimberly to be my name. I was very disappointed when my father told me I couldn't change it. Then I had a dream that I was in a courthouse changing my name, and at the last minute I decided to keep Michele. If I'd had a daughter, though, I might have named her Kimberly (but I only have a son).

2. I got my dog Beau from, sight unseen. He had to travel from the Midwest to the East Coast to get here.

3. I have always been a reader and a book collector. When I moved to my house 12 years ago I had 83 boxes of books. I can't imagine how many I have now. I'm never moving again!

4. My first kiss was in third grade. A boy and I went to get something from our classroom for the teacher and she told us to make sure to lock the door when we left. The boy refused to lock the classroom door unless I kissed him. What could I do? So I kissed him. Nowadays he'd probably be hauled into the principal's office!

5. I got my ears pierced when I was 13. They used spray ice, and missed the part they pierced when they sprayed the second ear. If it had been my first ear I would have gone through life with only one hole, it hurt so much.

6. I used to drink coffee with sugar until I had to have $700 worth of dental work back in the 1980s. Nowadays it would cost thousands. Needless to say I don't use sugar any more.

7. I am learning how to practice yoga. The oldest person in my yoga class is in her 80s!

The Tags:

I have tagged a few people who have commented recently on my blog. I didn't tag everyone because some people have recently been tagged or I tagged you before. I don't want to wear out my welcome!


There are two more people I would like to tag who do not have blogs - Staci, who always writes such nice comments, and my new friend Kim, who is another beginner like me. If you would like to play tag, email me your facts at and I will post them here (no worries if you don't want to do this, but I thought it would be nice to get to know you better!)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

X Marks the Spot

Here's the finished result of my little stitching project. As Kathy guessed, it's an X - for X Marks My Spot, of course! I'd like to figure out how to make it into a banner image for my blog, although if you look closely, you'll not only see my mistake with the border, but you may notice some miscounting that led to a lot of fudging in the bottom half of the design. I even had to stitch over one in a section in order to make things look relatively even. My skin must be getting tougher, because it's not bothering me as much as it would have earlier in my stitching career.

Now that I'm done with this, I needed a new project. I know I've mentioned LHN's Moon and Stars and The Snowman, but neither of them are calling to me right now. So I visited my LNS yesterday and lo and behold, the elusive Gingerbread Cottage by CCN was on the rack at last. I snapped it up along with Summer Garden, bought the linen for it, and am about to commence upon it. This will be more of a challenge than I have taken on before. For the first time I will need to do areas with a number of color changes, something I've not felt ready for. This seems like a good project to try it with.

One thing has always puzzled me. Have you ever noticed that when instructions for how to cross stitch are given in a chart or a magazine, what's never mentioned is how to change colors. No one ever addresses this. The directions always seem to be geared towards single blocks of color. To a newbie, color changes look very daunting. I'm not talking about the kind where you do one color for awhile, then switch to another. I mean in designs where the color changes every few stitches, making it impractical to switch floss color and then change to a new color within a stitch or two. I think I've learned enough to try it, but I wish I had some guidance on the best way to accomplish it without going crazy. I guess Gingerbread Cottage will be the test of what I can manage. So here I go!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The X's Stay Put

Many thanks for all the support around my upside down and backwards stitching. I'm going to stop taking it all so seriously. I can barely even tell when I look at it. I like the Amish concept! Here's where I've gotten to so far. Is it starting to look like something recognizable yet? Even though it's not much of a project I have enjoyed stitching it. I really love that spinach green, which is more than I can say for the real thing!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Border Blues

This new stitcher has made quite a newbie mistake. I'm working on a little design for my blog header, which has a border. I got all the sides to match up, but it didn't take long for my self-congratulations to dissipate. I stitched nearly a quarter of the design before I realized that I had turned the block of linen the wrong way, and my stitching goes in a different direction from the border stitches. This is always what you get warned about in cross stitch lessons - make sure your stitches all go the same way. Sigh. I could frog it all out and start afresh but I don't have the heart to do it. So I'm going to continue, hoping that it won't be noticeable on my blog. Can anyone tell what I'm stitching yet? I'm using Spinach by Crescent Colours and I like the variegated look in the design.
I read this post by Deb of Lavender Rose Ramblings after I discovered my error, and its wisdom helped me get a bit of perspective on this latest debacle. I urge anyone who has ever been discouraged to read it.